Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NYC Tenants Rally To Protest Unfair Rent Hikes; 10/1; City Hall


Jon Furlong with PACC- (718) 522-2613 x25
Amyre Loomis with NYCC- (718) 260-9191

Tenants rally at City Hall to protest unfair rent hikes

Bloomberg’s sham rent board slams tenants once again

On Thursday, October 1, tenants from all over New York City will gather at City Hall at 1:00 pm to protest the rent increases that go into effect that day that will impact over one million rent stabilized households.

Numerous elected officials will attend, including Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, City Comptroller William Thompson, and City Council Member Letitia James. In addition, several of the pro-tenant candidates who won in the September 15 Democratic primary will be present.

Despite high unemployment, and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Bloomberg’s rent board is still rewarding landlords with huge, unnecessary rent increases. This is the case, even though data from the City Department of Finance shows that owners of rent-stabilized properties have seen their net operating incomes go up to an average of 38 percent, meaning they spend 62 cents of every dollar of income on operating and maintaining their buildings, leaving 38 cents for debt service and profit.

The rent increases were voted in June by the New York City Rent Guidelines Board, whose nine members are appointed by the Mayor, and the board is stacked with a majority opposed to rent regulation. Despite promises by Mayor Bloomberg that the rent increases would be “a lot lower this year because costs have gone down,” the board voted to increase rents by 3 and 6 percent for one-year and two-year lease renewals.

For the second year, the board also voted to maintain the “poor tax,” a minimum $30 or $60 increase for tenants who have lived in their apartments for six or more years. Thus, a tenant paying $600 per month will be hit with effective rent increases of 5 percent for a one-year renewal or 10 percent for two years.

The October 1 rally is sponsored by the Real Rent Reform Campaign (R³), a coalition working to strengthen rent and eviction protection laws in New York City and suburban counties. The R³ Campaign has proposed legislation to restructure the rent board process.

What: Tenants rally to protest unfair rent increases

When: Thursday, October 1, 2009, 1:00 pm

Where: Steps of City Hall, lower Manhattan


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